Future-oriented: the Innovation FactoryRheinau
In operation since the end of 2018: the new Brunner Innovation Factory. This light-flooded hybrid building is home to the design, assembly and administration departments, as well as the staff canteen. Two big names in the industry were involved in its design and furnishing: Renowned architects' firm, HENN, was responsible for the planning and implementation, and Stuttgart design studio, Ippolito Fleitz, handled the interior design of the offices and the staff canteen.
The Innovation Factory is part of a master plan for Brunner GmbH's development over the next 15 years. The factory expansion was planned alongside a new logistics centre as part of a wide-ranging, in-depth site investigation carried out by renowned architect firm, HENN. By building the Innovation Factory, the company is satisfying its continuing growth with optimised processes and more space for development, communication, creativity, innovation and production.
In response to the future need for a modern production facility at the factory site, the striking hybrid building houses the design department, assembly and shipping areas, office and communication spaces and the staff canteen. The visible wooden structure of the Innovation Factory makes for a striking image that pays homage to the company's manufacturing concept – because a lot is made by hand during the production of Brunner contract furniture. The Innovation Factory is a self-contained building on the company's own site with a logistics facility and a connection to the existing production hall.
The result exceeds all expectations, as Dr Marc Brunner summarises: "The intensified contact between employees and our partners has already provided valuable inspiration – particularly for one of our core strengths: the development of individual unique solutions. Furniture tailored to the special requirements of our customers is largely the result of our teamwork. Our engineers, external designers and expert suppliers enjoy perfect conditions for interactive product development in the Innovation Factory." What's more, the Innovation Factory also offers a more in-depth insight into the company, products and high-quality standards than a traditional showroom, which has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers.
To promote information sharing at all levels, there are also zones that can be used flexibly, e.g. for quick project coordination or creative brainstorming. Comfortable seat groups encourage exchanges between colleagues. The new staff canteen lies at the heart of this area in line with the "Marketplace" concept by the renowned Ippolito Fleitz Group from Stuttgart. Managing Director Gunter Fleitz reveals what lies behind the interior design: "We have created an attractive, open environment where customers and employees alike can enjoy a varied culinary offering in a relaxed atmosphere. This promotes inspiring meetings and creative dialogue. The canteen provides the opportunity for informal exchanges in a familiar atmosphere all day long. There are various lounge and communication zones beneath ceiling cubes on the first floor in the gallery."
Every day, Head Chef Christophe Heintz supervises the preparation of fresh dishes made with high-quality, regional ingredients. The menu features healthy breakfasts and two lunch menus with an extensive selection of salads as well as delicious, light desserts. "The offering is very well received by colleagues. We are very pleased about this and it gives us motivation us every day. It also confirms both our culinary philosophy and our efforts," explains Heintz, who paid particular attention to light dishes when creating the menu, especially those reminiscent of his French homeland, "so that colleagues can return to work energised after lunch and don't fall into an afternoon slump."
Daylight floods through the single storey production area in the building and illuminates the two-storey wing that houses an integrated gallery where the assembly lines can be viewed from the staff restaurant and the office areas. The result is a division into a large main hall and separate rooms. The main hall is where chairs and tables are assembled, and where furniture products are stored before being dispatched. Other spaces in the Innovation Factory include offices and the areas dedicated to innovation. The glazed partition walls ensure complete transparency throughout the building.
Roof . Façade.
The visible roof structure is modular in design, made from wooden components. The standard components are combined into bonded laminated wood trusses with different spans and load capacities. The effectiveness of this construction is evident in its lightweight and delicate appearance. The striking image of the roof structure is incorporated into the lightweight design of the façade. The fully glazed north-western façade, in post-and-beam construction, looks like a shop window from outside. It lets plenty of daylight into the offices and staff canteen and enables employees and visitors to look out over the central campus square which will be completed in spring 2019. The opposite south-eastern façade is glazed at the ground floor by the assembly area. The closed building parts feature lightweight façade cladding made from insulated metal panels. The roofing is bitumen with square skylights and additional roof lights
The modernisation measures in the Brunner master plan by architecture office HENN include the now completed redesign of the outside areas. These measures link the Innovation Factory with the modern communication centre and the established administration buildings. It involved more than simply improving the appearance of the presentation space for Brunner outdoor furniture, as Schneider explains: "A modern company must be regarded as a whole. It is not just a production facility. Various relaxing spaces for regeneration and creativity are also needed. The staff canteen – a communicative, sociable meeting space with a terrace – leads into the Brunner campus courtyard. We have designed this space to serve as a calm recreational area with numerous seating options throughout the vast green spaces and pond area. Many employees regularly enjoy using this space for a relaxing break.
The result is a blissful haven that blends seamlessly into the overall look of the campus. We are absolutely delighted with our new features and are optimally prepared for the future.
A number of visual links with optimal sound insulation form the foundation for focussed, transparent work. The increased visibility of the individual departments and work steps promotes understanding, communication and collaboration – all of which are essential in an increasingly networked working environment.
Dieser Maxime folgt HENN, ein international tätiges und vielfach ausgezeichnetes Architekturbüro mit Sitz in München, Berlin und Peking. Es verfügt über mehr als 65 Jahre Erfahrung in den Bereichen Kultur- und Bürobau, Lehre und Forschung sowie Entwicklung, Produktion und Masterplanning. Bei der Entwicklung der Innovation Factory war dem Architektenteam wichtig, die Werte der Brunner GmbH aufzugreifen: Funktionalität, Qualität und Design.
Wie diese sich im Gebäude widerspiegeln, welche Herausforderungen zu meistern waren und welche Inspirationsquellen es gab, verrät Martin Henn, Partner und Head of Design beim Architekturbüro HENN, im Interview.